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How do Pence and Kaine agree on abortion?

Mike Pence and Tim Kaine spar over the issue of abortion during the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. (Video: The Washington Post)
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The question came at the very end of the debate: How have you grappled with your faith and public life?

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, spoke about being opposed to the death penalty but allowing it to go forward in his state. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, his Republican rival, discussed his opposition to abortion — which has been one of the defining issues of his political career.

While in Congress, Pence filed the first legislation barring Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds. This year, as governor of Indiana, he signed one of the nation’s furthest-reaching abortion laws, barring the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome or any other disability or because of their race, sex or ancestry. It also mandates that fetuses that are miscarried or stillborn in a medical facility be buried or cremated and that a woman have an ultrasound at least 18 hours before her scheduled abortion.

Portions of the law, including the provision making it illegal for a woman to have an abortion for specific reasons, were struck down by a judge in June.

Pence has become an emissary to many pro-life leaders and groups that have been leery of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who once expressed support for partial-birth abortion.

In Tuesday’s debate, Pence pointed out that the men agree on one thing about abortion: Kaine, who has said he personally opposes abortion, supports the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits Medicaid from paying for abortions. Trump and Pence also support the amendment, which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton opposes.

“I’ve appreciated the fact that you’ve supported the Hyde Amendment,” Pence said, “but that’s not Hillary Clinton’s view.”

Pence hit Clinton and Kaine for supporting partial-birth abortions. Clinton has said that she could support restrictions on late-term abortions if exceptions were made for the life and health of the mother.

“We support Roe vs. Wade,” Kaine said. “We support the Constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience ... and make their own decision about pregnancy.”

In March, Trump said that if abortions were banned, women who still sought them should face some type of "punishment," a statement he later walked back.

“We don’t think women should be punished as Donald Trump said they should for making the decision to have an abortion,” Kaine said.

“We’d never support legislation that punishes women” for making the difficult decision to have an abortion, Pence said.

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